Longreads

The McSorley Poet

My father’s stories come from a career behind the bar of New York’s oldest pub, among the alcoholics and loners and deviants who became his people and helped him find his voice as a writer.

Airbrushing Shittown

The new podcast from This American Life has been lauded for telling an empathetic, accurate story about the South. But S-Town is very much a story, and mere accuracy doesn’t make it journalism.

Free the Roses

On the bloom of spectacular decline.

Uncommon Ancestry

Imagine finding out your father wasn’t the man you thought he was. Imagine finding out he was your mother’s fertility doctor.

Dear Master

A requiem for a greyhound.

The First Two Days of the Next Four Years

Scenes from the inauguration of Donald Trump and the Women’s March on Washington.

Murder on Union Hill Road

In April 2016, eight family members were slain in their homes in Ohio. Nine months later, the killer or killers are still on the loose, and the town has all but forgotten the crimes.

The David Foster Wallace Disease

It’s funny, knowing that, if I were living in one of my favourite minds, I might want to turn it off.

Holiday on the Icy Golden Hell-Staircase

Thousands of Gold Rush prospectors climbed the Chilkoot, and many lost their lives. In the grand tradition of Dark Tourism, I decided to join the 2,500 people who now hike it for fun every summer.

Send in the Swans

Fifty years later, Truman Capote’s Black and White Ball, called variously the party of the year, the decade, and the century, proves his definitive final creative act.